The battle flag of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, which is the flag most commonly referred to as the Confederate flag, has long been a symbol that divides the country. While its display has always been contentious, renewed anger arose after Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old male who posed with the flag several times in his manifesto, went into Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and murdered nine innocent people over their race.
The furor over the flag was more pronounced due to the fact that it still flew high over South Carolina’s capital, less than a two-hour drive away from the massacre, even as other flags throughout the country were brought to half-staff. In response, activists have pushed for “National Burn the Confederate Flag Day.”
NATIONAL BURN THE CONFEDERATE FLAG DAY
Within days of the Emanuel AME Church massacre, an event page sprang up on Facebook promoting June 27 as National Burn the Confederate Flag Day. The page implores people to flood social media with photos and videos of these burnings:
“This is our day to demonstrate that it is no longer acceptable to fly this flag anywhere. Organize a Confederate flag burning event in your area on Saturday, June 27th, and flood social media with pictures and videos using the hashtags #FeelTheBurn and #TakeItDown “
The furor over the flag still flying over South Carolina hasn’t gone unnoticed, even by Republicans. One South Carolina state representative, Rep. Doug Brannon, has promised to pre-file a bill that will remove the flag from the state capital. He said:
“I had a friend die Wednesday night for no reason other than he was a black man. Senator Pinckney was an incredible human being.”
Senator Clementa Pinckney was a state legislator killed in the Emanuel AME shooting, and he also happened to be the reverend at the church. As was expected, Rep. Brannon received considerable backlash on his Facebook page.
Even Mitt Romney, the man who no longer has to worry about impressing the more bigoted base of his party, said that the flag should come down. He sent out this Tweet on June 20:
These are Republicans calling for this symbol of hate to be removed, but activists aren’t waiting this long. In fact, there have already been Confederate flag burnings at places like Independence Mall in Philadelphia. With National Burn the Confederate Flag Day right around the corner, though, it’s highly likely that sporadic reports like the one out of Philadelphia will increase greatly.
The Confederate flag is the flag of racial bigotry. There’s no doubt about it. Need a bit of proof, other than Dylann Roof proudly waving it in pictures before committing his racially-motivated crime? Here, look at this timeline… it’s pretty short.
- May 17, 1954: Supreme Court rules in Brown v Board of Education that schools throughout America must desegregate.
- 1956: The Confederate flag is added to Georgia’s state flag under Governor Marvin Griffin, who had said “The rest of the nation is looking to Georgia for the lead in segregation” and that he would protect segregation “come hell or high water.”
The flag is about hate. Period. There may be some who say “It’s our heritage,” but really, what heritage is there to be proud of? The heritage of seceding from the Union in order to keep slaves? And I don’t want to hear the argument that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, because it was. Southern leaders of the time said so in their own words, so there’s irrefutable proof the Civil War was about slavery.
So on June 27, head outside with your camera and light up a Confederate flag. Show the world that Americans aren’t bigoted or hateful. Show them that the majority of us want the Confederate flag wiped away from existence… but we’ll settle for putting it in a museum.
The “Museum of Treason.”
The “We Got Our Butts Kicked Museum.”
The “These Colors Don’t Run, Oh Wait, They Do… That’s What Surrender Means Museum.”
And I’m not sure if any of those museums exist… but they should. If you’re ready to take part in this great new national holiday, visit the event page here. If you need a quick Confederate flag, check out eBay’s page for them… just try not to buy one from a seller who makes any statement close to “South Will Rise Again.”